Friday, 27 February 2015

Las Vegas 2014 35th Anniversary trip

I usually look back on the past year to see what geeked me out and what didn't, well 2014 was the year of our 35th wedding anniversary so as far as geeking me out nothing could top that.
Below is an overall review on the things we did on our anniversary trip as I'm not good at taking notes or remembering what happened on what day, so the report will be a broad reflection on the places we visited during our time in Washington, Las Vegas and New York.

Las Vegas

It was an early rise 4am so we could catch our 8:00 flight to Las Vegas, after a coffee and a sandwich at the airport it was time to board the fight and off we went. 5 hours later we landed in Vegas at around 10am due to the time difference, and after a quick transfer we were at our hotel and all checked in for 11:00.

We stayed at the MGM Grand which is a fabulous hotel you cannot fault it for the entertainment, varied food on offer and the vast array of ways provided for you to lose your money. However we just found the hotel to be too big and noisy for us, I want to stress that its not a knock on the hotel it’s just a personal preference. 

We were there for 6 nights and even towards the end of our stay there, we were still getting lost as we walked around the casino and food court areas. Then there's the music that seems to be playing where ever you go, in the casino, bars, food court and the lifts there was no escape from it. When music isn't playing there are various announcements of upcoming events blasting over the system, letting you know about upcoming and present events.
I now know that Lady Gagga the biggest star on the planet (their words not mine) was performing there, Aerosmith with special guest Slash, yes Slash (again their words) making an appearance alongside them. As I said it’s a great hotel and I'm sure as a younger man I would have loved it, unfortunately I am a grumpy older man and the hotel just wasn't for me. I do however have to give a special shout out to the MGM food court which serves some great food, and was a morning life saver for Helen providing her with a much needed morning cup of tea.

Our room was large as you would expect and was clean again as you would expect from a hotel of this standard, I particularly liked the small TV that was in the bathroom area mirror but that’s just the geek in me. There was no bath but there was a very large shower which was big enough for two, just in case we needed to shower at the same time to save a bit of water (doing my bit for the environment). Unfortunately we did find out that our room had been double booked, when a Japanese couple tried to get into our room at 5:30 one morning. We were offered a room upgrade which I declined as I didn't want to repack all our clothes up again, so we were given $75 to spend in any MGM owned hotel as long as we charged it to our room so happy days.

Despite my bravado prior to our holiday about hitting the Black Jack and Roulette tables, the Yorkshire man in me wasn't 
willing to risk the $25 minimum bet most of the tables were asking. 
So we happily played the slots while we drank our free beer and cocktails, that we ordered from the waitresses who came around as you played. Helen was the biggest winner cashing out $78 on her first night not big bucks but we were happy, one of the disappointments on playing the slots is that you don't get money when you win or cash out. You are paid with a money slip that you can exchange for money at a vendor machine at a later time, perhaps I've seen too many films where the money just jingles into the payment cups of the machine but that's what I wanted to hear. Over the 6 days we saved up any money slips we won until the day we were leaving, and found we had over $300 when we cashed them out so not too bad.


We ate a various places during our stay and had some great meals, with the stand out meal for me been The MadOnion, it was across the road from the MGM  and I had a steak to die for. We both had a starter and a main meal with a drink and it only came to $55, if you’re visiting Las Vegas I strongly suggest you visit this restaurant. Other places we ate in were Hooters which was standard burger and fast food, however I don’t think people are drawn to Hooters due to the standard of the food but I could be wrong. Continuing with the fast food theme we visited Denney’s and Panda Express both of which were better than I thought they would be, and if you’re looking for good tasting fast food you could do worse than giving these places a try especially Panda Express. The RainForest Café in the MGM was a bit hit and miss for us, the food was good as was the cost of the meal but unfortunately our server forgot to order our starters. So after sat waiting for around 30 minutes our main meal turned up, the poor man who brought it had no idea what had happened to our starter and didn't know what to do. When our server turned up she said that she had forgot to order it as she had been very busy, she apologised then walked away so we ate our meal and left a little disappointed to say the least.

During the day we kept fuelled up with plenty of coffee and cakes which kept us going, we also made visits to The Earl of Sandwich, Ben & Jerry’s, Subway and The Sugar Factory, all them helped keep our energy levels up.

The Sights:
Well what can I say that hasn't been already said about Vegas you either love it or hate it and we love it, we visited every hotel & casino on the strip and some off it as well all have their own plus and minus points and I could go on forever about them. 
My favourite hotel was the Bellagio not only does it have the fantastic fountains but there is an air of opulence about the place. I loved sitting near the reception area listening to the piano player go through his repertoire. 

Helens favourite hotel was the Wynn she fell in love with the flowed carousel and gardens, which I have to admit were very impressive and shows what you can do with a bit of imagination and a few million dollars in your pocket.

 A mention also has to go to the Tropicana where we spent a few nights gambling in the bright music free casino, based on the casino area and bars alone the Tropicana is a hotel we would consider if we ever go back to Vegas.

We paid a visit to Freemont Street as we never made it there the first time we visited Vegas, we took the Deuce bus after buying a 3 day pass for $20 each. After a bit of breakfast in Denny’s at the entrance to Freemont Street we wondered around the casinos and had a bit of a gamble. It was quite busy and there were a lot of street sellers who were trying to get your attention along with several people with cardboard signs, a scantily dressed devil lady asked if I wanted a photo with her. She was clearly topless under the large fans hiding her modesty so I thought it was safer to decline, especially as Helen was walking alongside me not looking too impressed. Along with the devil lady there were a couple of show girls again topless, and it was only mid-morning as they say only in Las Vegas.

We visited the Fashion Mall on the strip but nothing really caught our eye so came out empty handed, however that wasn't the case when we caught the Deuce bus to the Premium Outlet where we found loads of stuff to flex our prepaid $ Card on. I was particularly pleased with my purchase of the War Doctor’s sonic screwdriver for half the price you pay in the UK, along with the Doctor Who and Batman wallets and the shopping trip was a successes as far as I was concerned. Helen bought some earrings and bangles as well as a few other bits and bats, so a good shopping trip was had by all.

The Hard Rock Café on the main strip was a must visit despite the rather worrying KISS lookalikes in thongs stood outside, how those guys didn't get sunburnt is beyond me and from the looks of things the sock shop did well out of them as well but I digress. I picked up a Las Vegas Hard Rock T-shirt and baseball hat so I was sorted, then it was off to Ross Outlet on the main strip where Helen picked up 3 bottles of Elizabeth Taylor perfume for $16 each, which she believes is the bargain of the century and who am I to argue.

Las Vegas Show:
We went to see KA which is a Cirque du Soleil show at the MGM Grand, I had heard good things about it but nothing could prepare us for the spectacular show we saw. Those acrobats did things I didn't think possible and to be honest I still don’t, the tickets were $86 each and well worth the money. We were sat at the back of the theatre and didn't have any viewing restrictions what so ever, its a great show and one that I would recommend to anyone who was thinking of seeing it.


  1. Well I am also going to Les Vegas for my anniversary celebration. My husband went there last year too, but that time I was not with him. He have booked a nice location for vows for us. I am really excited for the trip.

    1. Enjoy Vegas and the best of luck to you both.